Bite-sized news for you to chew over - calls for FFA to show their hand, Bertos after retribution and more
Football Australia chief executive officer Archie Fraser has called on the FFA to tell the new Gold Coast consortium exactly what is needed to keep the club in the A-League. The future of the club and its players remains balanced on a knife's edge, with United likely to cease to exist if Football Federation Australia cannot reach an agreement with a business consortium led by hotelier Tom Tate and entrepreneur Geoffrey Schuhkraft. "The existing bid led by Tom Tate and Geoffrey Schuhkraft is one we fully support and through one of our directors, Clive Mensink, we have had ongoing contact with them," Fraser said. "…FFA need to clearly state to the football and business public what it is that needs to be achieved. They must then give those interested parties time to construct a model that meets the criteria." Fraser's wish, however, is unlikely to be granted, with an FFA spokesperson stating the body would conduct its dealings "in confidence".
Melbourne Heart striker Eli Babalj is looking to cause former club Perth Glory plenty of home discomforts when the two sides meet in Sunday's A-League elimination final. Perth-bred Babalj turned out for the Glory's National Youth League side in the 2008-09 campaign, before departing for the Australian Institute of Sport and finally landing at Melbourne Heart in time for the 2010-11 season. Babalj has nine goals to his name this season, but has yet to score against the Glory and wants that to change on Sunday. "It would be nice to get one in my home town," Babalj told Sportal. "I haven't scored against them in the two seasons so I am really looking forward to getting one over there."
Wellington Phoenix winger Leo Bertos wants to put his memories of the 2009-10 A-League finals - and that handball by then-Sydney FC striker Chris Payne - to bed. Payne's controversial goal put the Sky Blues 2-1 in their preliminary final against the Phoenix two seasons ago, with Sydney eventually prevailing 4-2 to knock their opponents out of the finals race. Vitezslav Lavicka's side won the title a week later after defeating Melbourne Victory on penalties, and Bertos said the manner of the Phoenix's exit was on his mind as he looked forward to Friday's elimination final against the Sky Blues. "I'm still a little bit bitter that there was that dubious decision, the little handball incident that should have gone our way," he said. "They scored from that and it changed the game. But we're on our home patch now. I'm not saying we're going to throw any handballs out there but hopefully we can give them a good game."
Michael Bridges wants to continue his playing career at the Newcastle Jets, and wants Australian citizenship to help his cause for a new contract. Bridges is one of nine players out of contract at the Jets, and has filed preliminary paperwork on claiming an Australian passport in order not to be considered a foreigner in the Jets' squad. "There is no way I'm hanging the boots up," the former Leeds United striker told The Newcastle Herald. "I am as fit as I have ever been. I spoke to [former Australia internationals] Steve Corica and Spider [Zeljko Kalac] after the game on Sunday and they told me I looked lively and to keep going. I had something to offer." Joining Bridges in coming off contract is Jeremy Brockie, Tarek Elrich, Francis Jeffers and Byun Sung-hwan, while South Korean youth international Do Dong-hyun has joined the club on trial.